March 18, 2011
Every year for my husband’s birthday, we try to take a trip out of town or book a night at a hotel just to get away from it all and get some rest and recreation as a family. For me in particular, just sleeping in an uncluttered hotel room (without the sight of laundry to sort, dishes to wash, garbage to clean up) is enough to de-stress me. For my husband Cisco, it’s the same, plus the immediate access to a gym when he wakes up and the big breakfast buffets right after. For my son Franco, as it is with most kids, it’s the elevator rides, the key cards, the bubble baths, the swimming pools, the view of the city from the room window, and, for his little G.I. Joe and superhero friends, a cool new landscape to explore. For all three of us though, it’s the uninterrupted quality family time we appreciate the most.
Last weekend, we stayed at The Bellevue Manila. There we met Doods, the hotel’s sniff dog, sitting beside his handler at the entrance of the hotel, welcoming (and sniffing?) guests as they arrived. He and Franco shook hands and became instant friends.
Doods is a two-year old cross between a Lab and a Golden Retriever. He is perhaps the sweetest, friendliest sniff dog ever! Aww, c’mon! Look at that adorable expression on his face!
If you’re ever at The Bellevue, don’t forget to say hi to the hairy brown “dude” at the door!
January 1, 2011
It was a cloudy day and the pool water was unkindly cold. Drenched from his first dive, shivering, teeth chattering, Franco hoped for the sun to come out from behind the clouds. In a terrycloth cocoon, he waited. And waited. And waited. Then finally, the sun peeked through the clouds and showed off its bright, warm face. Like Superman, (his all-time favorite superhero whose powers apparently get recharged by the Earth’s yellow sun), Franco’s “strength” instantly returned. He leaped up and out of his towel yelling, “POWWWERRR!!!” (at which time I grabbed my point-and-shoot and snapped this pic) then quickly, without a second thought, jumped back in the water.
The scenario was… well… sort of like LIFE! The freezing pool waters are like the harsh circumstances we face at times. More often than not, we want so much to dive in and swim, to live life to its fullest. But the thought of hurting again, or failing again, keeps us from doing it. So we choose to stay safe, stay away, stay dry. Pretty soon our protective barriers, our shields, and our comfort zones, cease to protect, to shield or to comfort. Instead they begin to hinder us from growing and changing, and from swimming in the fullness of God’s amazing plans and purposes.
What if we always saw and believed as purely as Franco did that day about the power of the sun and what it can do. Better yet, what if we saw and believed that way about the power of the Son and what He has already done! What if we always had that child-like faith to see and and believe that God is with us, and that we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.
In 2010, I was faced with the daunting task of having to make some crucial life-changing decisions – in my marriage and family life, in my career, and most importantly, in my whole attitude towards God. The process was in no way easy. It was painful, humbling, and sometimes scary! But God was gracious, and IS gracious, enabling me to see Him at work in me and around me, and enabling me to believe that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and that with Him, all things are possible.
The pool water temperature that afternoon didn’t rise. It didn’t warm up at all. I dove in maybe 15 minutes after Franco did and it was still freezing! But for Franco, the sunshine on his face made all the difference. As far as he was concerned, he could overcome anything!
Now THAT is what I want for myself this new year. I want to start living more. I want to embrace God’s plans and His ways with more faith than ever before… His sufficient grace, His smiling face, making all the difference.
This is my prayer, and I hope it will be yours too! Have an awesome new year!
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”Numbers 6:24-26
December 25, 2010
From our family to yours…
“And there, in the stable, amongst the chickens and the donkeys and the cows, in the quiet of the night, God gave the world his wonderful gift. The baby that would change the world was born. His baby Son.
“Mary and Joseph wrapped him up to keep him warm. They made a soft bed of straw and used the animals’ feeding trough as his cradle. And they gazed in wonder at God’s Great Gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.
“Mary and Joseph named him Jesus, ‘Emmanuel’ – which means ‘God has come to live with us.’ Because, of course, he had.”
(Page 182, The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones)
December 5, 2010
November 11, 2010
Late last night, my 6-year old son Franco sat up in bed and asked me if he could paint. It was way past his bedtime, so naturally, I gave him a stern “No.”
He begged and begged. ”Please,” he said. ”Just for awhile, I need to paint.”
This was the strangest request ever. It was so unusual, and so out of the blue given the time, to think he was all tucked-in in bed and dozing off… or so I thought. But after more pleading, I thought to myself, “Okay, there must be some good reason why he needs to paint so badly, right?” So I agreed, boggled but curious to find out what was in that little mind of his.
He worked on his painting for maybe half an hour on his giant sketch pad. Every now and then I’d check to see how he was doing. Although he didn’t let me come near enough to see his painting, I was amazed even just to see such uninterrupted focus and determination to finish a task, and at 11 PM at that! When he was done, he washed his hands then climbed back into bed and fell asleep in an instant.
A few seconds later, I went over to his table to see his finished work. And there it was, “smiling” at me. Love!!!
Thought Bubble: I love the bright colors he chose, and how the yellow pops! I love how the brushstrokes are visible, sorta like a Van Gogh but not. I love how happy the colors make me feel. I love how in the midnight hour, rainbows become real. Most of all, I love how it’s so true, that even in our darkest nights, God’s promises still shine through.